NBA playoff picture: Lakers control own destiny; Heat look to clinch home court
Here’s what’s at stake for playoff-contending teams Wednesday night:
Lakers at Blazers (10 p.m. ET): The Lakers (41-37) can grab a one-game lead over the idle Jazz (41-38) for the No. 8 seed with a win against Portland, which has lost eight in a row.
Spurs at Nuggets (10:30 p.m.): A victory would move the Spurs (57-20) one game ahead of the idle Thunder (57-21) for the No. 1 seed. A loss would drop the Spurs into a tie with the Thunder, who have the inside track on the tiebreaker because of a better conference record. The Nuggets (53-24) can strengthen their hold on the No. 3 seed with a victory. They lead idle Memphis (53-25) by a half-game and the Clippers (51-26) by two games.
Timberwolves at Clippers (10:30 p.m.): The No. 4 Clippers could climb within a game of the No. 3 seed with a win and a Nuggets loss. Los Angeles, guaranteed a top-four seed as Pacific Division champion, is 1½ games behind No. 5 Memphis for home-court advantage in the first round.
Heat at Wizards (7 p.m.): With a win or a Spurs loss, the Heat (61-16) can clinch home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Hawks at Sixers (7 p.m.): The Hawks (42-36) can pull into a virtual tie with idle Chicago (42-35) for the No. 5 seed with a victory in Philadelphia. Atlanta leads Boston (40-37) by 1½ games for the No. 6 seed.
Bucks at Magic (7 p.m.): The No. 8 Bucks (37-40) trail Boston by three games for the seventh seed with five games left.
Nets at Celtics (8 p.m.): With a win and a Hawks loss, the Celtics can close within a half-game of the No. 6 seed. The Nets (45-32) lead the Bulls by three games for home-court advantage in the first and could widen that edge with a win.